Dáil Éireann - Volume 516 - 09 March, 2000

Written Answers. - Teaching Qualifications.

58. Mr. Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Science if, in view of the severe difficulty in recruiting, he will remove the anomalies where teachers with high qualifications cannot be recognised for teaching at primary level. [7256/00]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): In order to be fully recognised to teach at primary level, teachers must have undertaken a recognised primary teaching training course and possess a recognised primary teaching qualification. Such a qualification can usually be achieved by a person graduating from one of the recognised teacher training courses in the colleges of education, including the post-graduate conversion courses, or by a primary teacher trained abroad achieving the necessary level of competence in the Irish language.

However, in order to overcome the current shortage of primary school teachers, a scheme has been implemented to pay persons at the trained rate of pay who are working in a temporary [417] capacity in primary schools; possess a primary degree and a higher diploma in education and have obtained a grade C or higher in the higher level leaving certificate.

The arrangements outlined above have been put in place for this school year as a short-term measure to overcome the difficulties caused by the shortage of fully qualified primary school teachers. It is expected that by paying such persons at the trained rate of pay, it will be attractive for them to teach in primary schools. While it is accepted that they are not qualified primary school teachers, in my view it is the best option in resolving the current difficulties in the short-term.

In addition to the measure outlined, last year arrangements were put in place for primary degree holders with a higher diploma in education to be paid at the trained rate of pay in respect of any substitute work which such persons undertook. It is not a requirement for persons with such qualifications who are engaging in substitute work to possess a grade C in Irish as substitute work is normally of a much shorter duration than temporary work.

There has been no decision to grant full recognition to holders of a BA and a higher diploma in education for primary teaching purposes.